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Why does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) limit paratransit service to areas where there is already a bus route?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), paratransit functions as a “safety net” for persons whose disabilities prevent them from using the regular fixed route system (bus or rail). It is not intended to meet all of the transportation needs of all persons with disabilities, all of the time.

Where can I find decisions published by the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights?

The following website contains links to finalized Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Review Reports, Letters of Finding, and links related to collaboration between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

What regulations does the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights enforce, and where may I access the regulations and information about programs enforced by the Office of Civil Rights?

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights ensures the non-discriminatory use of federal funds through oversight of grantee implementation of required civil rights regulations and policy. Compliance reviews are conducted to ensure conformity under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of a service animal?

Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.3, “service animal” is defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” DOT ADA regulation 49 C.F.R.

What guidelines exist with regard to Americans with Disabilities act (ADA) compliance for fare vending machines?

Accessibility requirements for fare vending machines are established by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB or “Access Board”), the Federal agency responsible for developing minimum guidelines for accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What do I do if I have severe allergies to something I encounter on a public transportation system (i.e., service animals, cigarette smoke at bus stops, etc.)?

Encountering cigarette smoke, service animals, and other potential allergens is a function of going out in public. Adoption of a no smoking policy at bus stops is a local issue and is not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); however, you may contact your local transit authority to discuss such a concern. Under Department of Transportation (DOT) ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.167(d), public transit providers are required to allow trained service animals to accompany riders on vehicles.

May Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) ride for free on complementary paratransit and fixed route?

Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(c)(3), a personal care attendant (PCA) may not be charged a fare for complementary paratransit service. Under 49 C.F.R. Section 37.123(f)(1)(ii), a companion (i.e., friend or family member) does not count as a PCA unless the companion is actually acting in the capacity of PCA. PCAs may be charged a fare on fixed route. While some transit systems go beyond the minimum requirements of the ADA and allow PCAs to ride for free, there is no requirement that they do so.

May I change my drop-off location on complementary paratransit service the same day?

Under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b), paratransit service must be provided to eligible individuals on a next-day response time. While transit systems are permitted to use real-time scheduling, it is not required. Where same-day service is provided, it is often a premium service. Because paratransit is a shared ride, allowing riders to change their drop-off locations on the same day to make intermediate stops could lead to late pickups or drop-offs for other riders.

May an individual be charged a higher fee for complementary paratransit than they would pay on fixed route?

Yes. Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.121 require paratransit fares to be comparable to the fare for a trip between the same points on the regular fixed route transit system. “Comparable” is defined in DOT ADA regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(c) as not more than twice the fare that would be charged to an individual paying full fare for a trip of similar length, at a similar time of day, on the entity’s fixed route system, exclusive of discounts.

May an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit provider negotiate my pickup time?

Yes, under Department of Transportation (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations at 49 C.F.R. Section 37.131(b)(2), a complementary paratransit entity may negotiate pickup times with an ADA paratransit eligible individual, up to one hour before or after the individual’s desired departure time. Any deviation from this one-hour window would exceed the bounds of comparability.

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